My 7 Favorite WordPress Plugins (That You May Not Have Heard Of)

My 7 Favorite WordPress Plugins (That You May Not Have Heard Of)

There are few things I love more than discovering a great new WordPress plugin. I have tested literally hundreds in my capacity as a blogger and WordPress writer but it doesn’t get old when you discover something fresh.

With that in mind I thought I would do a roundup of my favorite WordPress plugins that you may not have heard of. If you’ve been a WordPress user for more than a few weeks you’ll know all about the usual suspects — the plugins with millions of downloads and loads of top ratings — but there is a goldmine of diamonds in the rough lurking just below the surface that you may never have heard of.

You only have to look at the Periodic Table of WordPress Plugins to see how many enormously popular plugins there are out there, but now’s the time to check out the very best of the rest!

7. What the File

If you like to do a little tweaking in your theme’s PHP files then you will love this plugin. It adds a little option to the WordPress toolbar on your blog that tells you which PHP file relates to the page you are on. So if I am on a post page for instance, What the File will display single.php:

What the File screenshot.

And if I am on my homepage it will display index.php:

What the File screenshot.

This is extremely handy if you want to edit a particular page but don’t know what PHP file it relates to. I use it all the time — it’s one of those simple tools that I would hate to live without!

Download What the File

6. Lazy Load

I’m a little obsessed with page load speed which is probably why I like Lazy Load so much. Its functionality is simple yet highly effective – it ensures that images on your blog are only loaded when they are viewable within in the browser screen. So if an image is way down the bottom of your page, it will only be loaded if a visitor actually scrolls to see it.

The benefits of this are obvious — images (i.e. the files that are typically most resource-intensive on your site) are only loaded when they are needed. This means that the rest of your site can load without being interrupted by the biggest files.

It also helps that this plugin was co-developed by none other than the folks at Automattic – that’s enough to fill you with confidence about its functionality and effectiveness.

Download Lazy Load

5. Global Content Blocks

This plugin is a great tool for anyone that has identical content used repeatedly on multiple pages such as code snippets, sign up forms, disclaimers, boilerplate text and so on.

Global Content Blocks enables you to create snippets of text and/or code that are inserted in pages and/or posts as shortcodes. Not only does this mean that you can insert the same text on multiple pages without having to copy and paste but the plugin also preserves any formatting and prevents WordPress from stripping out tags etc.

Creating the “content blocks” is a piece of cake:

Global Content Blocks screenshot.

And inserting them is even easier:

Global Content Blocks screenshot.

Download Global Content Blocks

4. Flexible Posts Widget

It is fair to say that the default WordPress widgets are somewhat lacking in terms of functionality — the Recent Posts widget being a good example. Flexible Posts Widget seeks to address this issue by providing a much more powerful widget for displaying a selection of your posts. The options are pretty comprehensive:

Flexible Posts Widget screenshot.

This is great for displaying posts by category or by tag — so for instance you could tag particular posts that you want to be featured and choose to display those only. I’m just scratching the surface in saying that though — the potential options for display are near-endless. For instance, you can also customize the widget in terms of thumbnail display and even create your own templates:

Flexible Posts Widget screenshot.

Download Flexible Posts Widget

3. Easy Tweet Embed

I have to give a disclaimer here — I co-developed this plugin which probably gives me certain bias in saying that it is a great tool for boosting the number of times your post is re-tweeted!

Easy Tweet Embed essentially emulates the functionality offered by the Click to Tweet service – the differences being that it makes inserting “tweet links” a lot quicker and easier. Here’s a short video demonstrating just that:

Download Easy Tweet Embed

2. Advanced Code Editor

How can I not include a plugin that features pumping techno music in a video showcasing its functionality? Advanced Code Editor is the code editor that WordPress should have:

If you find yourself regularly tinkering with PHP files in WordPress then installing this plugin is a bit of no-brainer.

Download Advanced Code Editor

1. Better Internal Link Search

I can’t get enough of this plugin — I’ll recommend it to anyone that gives me half an opportunity. Its functionality is actually pretty straightforward but that’s not to say that it can’t make a big difference to how easily you can interlink between posts and pages on your site.

Better Internal Link Search does exactly what you expect — it makes internal link search better. If you’re not sure what I mean by “internal link search”, I’m talking the box that pops up when you try to create a link within a post or page:

Internal link search screenshot.

By default the search will look for mention of your chosen keyword anywhere within all posts and pages on your site with no emphasis on relevancy or any other ranking factor. It then returns all posts and pages in which the keyword is mentioned in reverse chronological order. To put it bluntly, this method of searching content sucks.

Better Internal Link Search seeks to address this issue by limiting the keyword search to post headline only. Because (a) you are likely to remember at least one word from the headline of the post you want to link to and (b) the options are likely to be far more limited, you will find posts much more easily with Better Internal Link Search installed.

Furthermore, it enables the inclusion of category and tag pages as well as scheduled posts which is fantastic if you schedule quite far in advance and want to link between posts that have not yet been published.

Download Better Internal Link Search

What Are Your Favorite Unknown Plugins?

I’m pretty sure that there won’t be a single person who reads this that already knew about all seven plugins on this list (if you did then you really know your plugins!).

However, I don’t want to stop at seven — if you can think of any great yet relatively unknown plugins that I have not mentioned above then please don’t hesitate to share with us in the comments section below!

Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer is the editor of the ManageWP Blog and a blogger for hire.
Tom Ewer
This article has 30 comments
  1. Ruthie says:

    Awesome list. I’m kinda still a newbie when it comes to webdesign, so I love these types of lists!

  2. WPHead says:

    Nice list of plugins! I would avoid Lazy Load though, has so many issues and conflicts with a lot of plugins (like w3 total cache).

    1. AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:

      Is this due to the actual plugin or the functionality itself? I’ve had no issues with Lazy Load before, but I use Lazy Load via Cloudflare.

      Admin
  3. Michael says:

    I can’t wait to try out ‘What the File’- it’s going to save me a ton of time not having to poke around each and every php file. Thanks for sharing! (Some that I often use that weren’t on the list are WP-typography, WP-optimize, Wordfence security and WP backup to Dropbox).

  4. Navjot Singh (@nspeaks) says:

    I don’t see a reason to use Easy Tweet Embed when you can embed a tweet by just pasting the tweet link and let oEmbed do the rest.

    1. Tom Ewer says:

      Because it does something completely different — it works like the Click to Tweet service.

      Author
    2. AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:

      Yep, they are completely different. You should check out the Easy Tweet Embed site, its pretty sweet!

      Admin
    1. AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:

      Looks nice. Just make sure you aren’t editing your parent theme directly and you are using child themes ;)

      Admin
  5. Rudd says:

    Those plugins are absolutely something new to me, except Lazy Load and Advance Code editor.

    What My Your Favorite Unknown Plugins?

    Well, I love What the File and Better Internal Link Search plugins.

    What the File plugin should be really handy for developers to edit existing themes :)

  6. Jason says:

    You should find a pkugin thst reformats your site for mobile or get a responsive theme . Your site is not mobile device friendly.

    1. AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:

      I’m going to create a mobile version of the website. I just haven’t had the time. I am really busy…

      Admin
  7. Sourav K says:

    What the File takes the cake for me! Its a really cool plugin!

    I’d like to add Schema Creator by Raven.
    wordpress.org/extend/plugins/schema-creator/

    Contributor
  8. helloconseo says:

    I did not know “What the file”. It’s a really cool plugin.
    I can recommend TablePress (For tables), and WP screenshots for portfolio sites, etc.

  9. Abhash Bikram Thapa says:

    Wow, really unknown list and the lazy load plugin is funky!

  10. Eric says:

    Great list. I can vouch for Advanced Code Editor…very handy for the times you need to edit something but don’t want to do it locally. I definitely will check out Global Content Blocks. Thanks for posting.

  11. David says:

    Nice useful list! Hadn’t heard of almost all the plugins in this list except Advance Code Editor and I’ve been using WP for years. Thanks man.

  12. Barry Kooij says:

    Great list and I’m happy you like the What The File plugin! So cool to see people like to use it!

  13. King says:

    never knew any of these plugins except Lazy Load.. ‘Flexible Posts Widget’ seems interesting..

  14. Mathew Porter says:

    Not tried lazy load before, has anybody and know how it functions and performs? Nice round up by the way.

  15. marathimatrimony says:

    good collection of unique wordpress plugin thanks for sharing

  16. Jaye says:

    Nice post, definitely going to try What the File and I bet I will use it a lot!

  17. Emily Williams says:

    Thanks for sharing, I’ve already heard about some of them. Now waiting for the realease of the new one “MotoPress”.

    It helps to simplify work with WordPress websites, adds drag and drop functionality to the site and enables to structure the content right in the visual editor.

    Hope it helps and supplement your showcase with useful data!

    1. AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:

      Sorry, but I not a huge fan of this at all, for many many reasons.

      Admin
  18. Neeraj Bansal says:

    I found all the plugins very helpful.
    @ Advanced Code Editor, I am looking for this type of plugin for long, now my search for it ends here.
    Thanks

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